Melaine Dalibert | Cheminant
The Elsewhere label continues in its pursuit of issuing minimal and experimental music, covering composition and improvisation. The three most recent releases reviewed here all share a specific aesthetic, namely the piano.
Returning to Elsewhere for a second release, the French composer Melaine Dalibert delivers five exquisitely sparse pieces, four of which are dedicated to other artists working in the field of experimental music, including the head honcho of the Elsewhere label, Yuko Zama.
The opening salvo, Music in an octave, is for David Sylvian, who also happens to be the designer of the artwork for this release, and others on the label. It’s a languid, mellow affair, the silences between notes becoming ever longer and more pronounced. The perfectly titled Percolations is for Zama, and is fluid and playful, in contrast to the preceding track. It’s a nice jolt for the listener, a beautiful melody encircling around itself. This variation is evident throughout the album, and on the title track Dalibert lets the woody tones of the piano drift, with slow release times creating miniature drones that softly attach themselves like moist webs between the notes.
Reinier van Houdt / Bruno Duplant | Lettres et Replis
Bruno Duplant wrote scores to Reinier van Houdt, who in turn “read” them and responded in turn with a realisation first of the “letter”, then his own response. The album therefore consists of three letters and three replies, each pair best listened to as a set, a communication between the two artists and manifested by van Houdt. Lettre 1 and Replis 1 connect robust playing and warm harmonics with a muted comeback that underlies the piano work with a washed-out smog of field recordings that definitely add an interesting dimension. Each set adds subtle variations in regard to the field recordings, the most notable being Replis 3, which begins with waves crashing on a shore before bright piano notes sparkle among the surf and an airplane which drones overhead.
Shira Legmann / Michael Pisaro | Barricades
Another collaborative work, this time featuring an extended piece composed by Michael Pisaro which has been divided into thirteen short studies performed by Shira Legmann (with some electronics by Pisaro). Again, the piano is very much at the fore here, but there are more overtly electronic pieces too in this collection. There is a clean, yet organic quality to Legmann’s playing that allows each piece to breathe and stretch out. Besides the set of studies, there are also a pair of interludes that use electronics to interpret Pisaro’s original, featuring swelling sinewaves and on Interlude No. 2 some beautiful processing that transforms it into a magical slice of modern ambient.